Movie Review: Happy Death Day

Time for another review from JL movie buff Katelyn Barbee:

Katelyn Barbee is a Phoenix college student by day and a writer by night. When not working on her fantasy series, you can find her at the cinema catching the latest flicks or enjoying a nature walk when the weather is nice. Her publications include “The Miller’s Daughter” in From the Stories of Old and “The Solstice Beast” in Whispers in the Shadows.

Happy Death Day

A cross between Groundhog’s Day and Scream, Happy Death Day treads well-worn but fun ground.


Murdered in an endless loop on her birthday by a stalker wearing a baby mask, Tree must find her killer if she wants the cycle to stop. The movie gets a lot of mileage out of this premise, especially once it gets the obligatory confusion, panic, anger, and finally a montage of surprisingly tame death scenes of the first act out of the way.

It’s ultimately more of a 90’s slasher flick and a self-aware (and sometimes campy) comedy than it is a horror flick. Happy Death Day isn’t really trying to scare you (though it does enjoy its jump scares) so much as entertain and make you laugh.

And while it does a good job setting up red herrings and trying to lead you astray, the final reveal doesn’t quite work the way the film wants it to. Certain subplots are fumbled and never lead to a satisfying conclusion. Tropes, at times, are played a little too straight. Characters are mostly one note, the exception being Jessica Rothe who does a superb job of keeping our lead character just likable enough despite her Mean Girl ways. Half the enjoyment of watching for me came from all her deaths and later her slow metamorphosis into a better person. I never hated Tree and in lesser hands, I would have.

Ultimately, it’s solid movie, despite its flaws. As long as you don’t go in expecting a horror flick, you’ll have a good time.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.